One of the Best Motion Offense Drills That You Will Find (Even During Games)

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One of the most effective motion drills I have run is the "Designated Shooter." It is a live, competitive drill that can be run as a 4-man drill or a 5-man drill.

This motion offense drill teaches your shooter...

  • How to attack & come off screens.
  • How to cut & move to get open.
  • When to prepare and expect a shot and how to exercise judgment in shot selection.

And the shooter learns that they can pass up a shot and still get the ball back for another one. Thus learning how to make good decisions and take good shots.

Shooters can also learn that setting screens is a great way to get open.

The other players learn...

  • How to create shots for others.
  • How and when to set screens on and off the ball.
  • How to create space, when to clear out, etc.
  • To recognize "Gretzky" opportunities where an extra pass is needed.

As you will read below with the "Get" series, it's also a great tool to use during games. It's a great way to get your best or hot shooter an open shot. It will get your team to refocus on patience, ball movement, spacing, screening, and cutting which should result in a high-percentage shot.

You can also use it as a tool to keep players motivated and engaged in case they haven't gotten an open shot for a while.

Drill Instructions For Designated Shooter

The drill is just as it sounds. The coach designates a shooter.

And the rules are simple. The shooter is the only one who can shoot the ball. The operative word here is "can" not "must."

It might sound a little bit drastic, but it is very effective.

The shooter cuts, comes off screens, passes, backdoors, and does what they need to do in order to get open. Everyone else is designated to get the shooter open. They can screen, pass or do whatever is necessary to get the shooter open.

The defense should not know who the shooter is until they shoot it.

Traps To Avoid During Drill

There are traps to avoid.

As I stated before, the shooter "can" shoot, not "must" shoot. Don't let him fire indiscriminately. Teach shot selection and patience. It will lower frustration levels during the game.

The shooter might be the only one who can shoot it but he is not the only player they can pass to. Early players might fixate on getting the ball to the shooter as opposed to creating flow and getting him open.

Players might only screen for the shooter. This might create some stagnant play. They should screen for all players. Other players should just play as normal as they can, they just can't shoot.

Variations of the Drill

As time passes, we adjust some of the rules.

  • Screener Shoots - Sometimes we will allow a screener to shoot if they receive the ball after screening for the shooter.

  • Pass Receiver (From Designated Shooter) Shoots - Other times, we will allow a player to shoot if they receive a pass from the shooter.

These rules teach players that there are better ways to get a shot than chasing after the ball. This however comes later in the practice season after we are sure the players understand the "designated shooter" concept.

How To Use The "Get" Series During Games To Get Your Best or Hot Shooter More High-Percentage Shots

Designated Shooter is also one of the ways I refocus my team during the game to get better patience, ball movement, spacing, and shot selection.

I have no second thoughts about calling a "designated shooter" play during a game.

You can use this for any player on your team. You can use it to direct the ball to your best shooter if you need a critical basket. You can also use it to keep players happy if they have not gotten a shot in a while.

I call this the "Get" series. I will call "Get Joe" or "Get Sarah," depending on whom I want to get a shot.

We will call "Get Screen On" if we want to allow the screener to shoot or "Get Pass On" if we want to allow the player who receives a pass from the shooter to be able to shoot.

We hope this drill helps improve your offense and you find it as useful as we have.

Want To Learn How To Develop A Motion Offense?

If you'd like to learn more about creating a high-scoring motion offense, check out Don Kelbick's Comprehensive Video & eBook package to Developing A Motion Offense.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Wendy Cahill says:
1/6/2017 at 9:50:47 PM

I have been an assistant coach of my son's recreation league basketball team for 3 years now. The team is 6th grade boys (ages 11/12). We have had most of the players for at least two years so they know each other pretty well. The biggest challenge we find (as coaches) is a strategy in games where there are so many turnovers & jump balls. It is hard for the team to set up play. We are lucky to get in 2 passes before the play changes hands or someone scores.

We are 4-0, but our victories seem often too close for comfort for my taste. We regularly use Breakthrough Basketball for ideas for our practices. Practices are one time a week for 1.5 hours with one game a week.

Can someone give me some suggestions of strategies to work on? Perhaps, some ways to develop more picks so our players with the ball have more space to pass and move.


A Coach from Connecticut

  2 replies  

Francky says:
1/7/2017 at 5:47:03 AM

The operative word here is "can" not "must." Goes also for passing. You don't need to pass, you need to pass when one is open. It's all about timing. Or maybe you should let your team work more on individual fundamentals?? Maybe there's a lack of confidence amongst your players??


Jeff Haefner says:
1/7/2017 at 11:55:04 AM

Wendy - Based on your description, it sounds like the players need a lot of work on skills. I don't think there is anything wrong with getting your team better at screening off the ball to get more space and openings. But before that I think all the players need to develop better skills and get better at decision making. I would spend a lot of time on ballhandling so they can move the ball around until they can get a great shot. This requires skills like:
- dribbling with eyes up under press until you can pass to a team mate. I expect all players on our team to have PG skills where they can dribble, beat players 1v1, etc until they can either take a good shot or make a good pass
- passing accuracy and catching skills
- pivoting and protecting ball in triple threat (use space step, pivots, and keep ball protected until you can make a good pass or use dribble with a purpose)

If you need more help with drills or anything, let us know. To mention a few, I recommend lots of 1v1 full and half court and No Dribble Drills to help your players develop these skills.

  1 reply  

Tourny says:
4/19/2017 at 12:51:06 PM

One phrase in this question got my attention.
"hard for the team to set up play"
I see many youth coaches stressing Xs and Os with young players.
The players respond by running to spots, staring down passing targets, etc.
Basically playing like robots.
They become predictable and easy to defend.
A balance of continuity and creativity must be found that helps your team be effective.


Gustavo Woltmann says:
1/1/2017 at 9:57:59 AM

Nice drill it make the players learn the setting screen. It also leads to better shot quality.

- gustavo woltmann


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